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Oak Ridge Birthday Club collection

Call Number: RH MS 1577


The Oak Ridge Birthday Club was a women's social club for rural farmers' wives outside Lawrence, Kansas. The collection contains official records from the club, including constitutions, lists of members, annual programs, minutes and ledgers, as well as notes taken by club members and correspondence with the club. These records were retained by the club historian, Marie Ice, who donated them along with her notes and research on the history of the club.


  • Creation: 1923 - 2006


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

History of the Oak Ridge Birthday Club

The Oak Ridge Birthday Club began informally in 1918 with a group of neighbor women that joined together to sew dresses and roll bandages for the Red Cross during WWI. They were from the Bismark, Oak Ridge, Mackey and Bleakley school districts near Lawrence, Kansas. The women enjoyed the companionship so much that they continued meeting after the war, confining their members to the Oak Ridge area due to difficulty of travel with horses and buggies on bad roads.

The Oak Ridge Birthday Club wrote their first constitution in 1923, stating that the 24 members would meet once a month, pay dues, and give a gift to a secret pal each year in their birthday month. The club also began creating an annual program that year listing members, officers, the club song, the dates of meetings, and who would be hosting. Members paid for year books and dues annually while penny collections were taken monthly. The funds were used to send flowers and cards to members in the hospital or in mourning.

Though the club was mainly social, in 1939 members were encouraged to write to Kansas Senator Capper and ask him to “keep us out of the war.” That same year the club sent 17 pounds of cookies in a bushel basket to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. During WWII the club made crib quilts for the Red Cross. In addition to baking and sewing, the club made numerous cash donations to Children’s Mercy and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Topeka, Kansas, as well as other local and national aid organizations over the years.

The membership of the Oak Ridge Birthday Club rose to more than 24 members in the 1930s and began to fall below 24 in the 1980s, as more women were working outside of the home, making them unavailable for daytime meetings. In 1994 there were 12 active members who decided to disband in 1995 because they were aging and there were no younger members to carry on group activities. Oak Ridge Birthday Club reunions were held yearly up until 2006.

[Information pulled from collection material.]


1.5 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

RH MS 1577

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Marie Ice, 2013.

Processing Information

The name of the club is spelled as both Oak Ridge and Oakridge Birthday Club throughout the collection. The finding aid uses the Oak Ridge spelling based on the name of the former town and school district where the club originated.

Folder titles are taken from original folder or envelope labels or from the title on the document. If items were unlabeled, folder titles are based on Spencer Library staff's understanding of the contents and written in [brackets].

Guide to the Oak Ridge Birthday Club Collection
Oak Ridge Birthday Club collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Oak Ridge Birthday Club collection, RH MS 1577, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States